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Metro Vancouver’s residential real estate prices continue to creep up



The Metro Vancouver residential real estate market has had a fairly strong start to the year, relative to the poor performance of one year previously, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported February 4.

There were 1,571 home sales on the MLS in January, which is a 42.4 per cent increase over January 2019.

Traditionally the slowest month of the year for real estate sale registrations (see graph below), because there is so little home-hunting activity in December, January’s sales were a 22.1 per cent decrease from the 2,016 homes sold in December 2019.

Last month’s sales were still slightly unde long-term typical activity for the month, as the very active markets of 2015 through 2017 pushed up the 10-year sales averages. January’s total was 7.3 per cent below the 10-year January sales average.

“We’ve begun 2020 with steady home buyer demand that tracks close to the region’s long-term average,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “Looking at supply, we’re seeing fewer homes listed for sale than is typical for this time of year. As we approach the traditionally more active spring market, we’ll keep a close eye on supply to see if the number of homes being listed is keeping pace with demand.”

There were 3,872 homes newly listed for sale in January, which is 20.1 per cent lower than the 4,848 homes listed in January 2019, although it’s more than double the number of homes that were listed in December 2019.

This takes the total number of homes listed for sale in Metro Vancouver, as of January 31, to 8,617, which is a 20.3 per cent decrease from January 2019 and only a 0.2 per cent higher than December 2019. The current figure is also 13.7 per cent below the 10-year January average number of active listings.

The increase in demand coupled with a relatively low supply of homes for sale is inevitably keeping home prices on the slow upward trajectory they have been seeing since summer 2019 (see graph below).


The composite benchmark price for all home types in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,008,700. This is a 1.4 per cent rise in the past six months, and 0.8 per cent higher than December, although still 1.2 per cent less than in January 2019.

Sales and prices by property type and area

At 439 transactions in January, Metro Vancouver’s single-family detached home sales were up 29.5 per cent year over year. However, it’s also a 26.7 per cent decline over December’s relatively strong sales, which is bringing the sector back towards buyer’s market territory.

Nevertheless, the typical price of a detached home in the region rose 0.5 per cent month over month to $1,431,200, which is a one-per-cent recovery over the past six months, but 1.7 per cent lower than January 2019.

Region-wide figures only tell half the story, however. Seven of the board’s 20 areas saw detached prices in January higher those of one year previously, led by Whistler (up 4.8 per cent) and Squamish (up 4.7 per cent). Annual declines in region’s overall detached benchmark price were led by the Sunshine Coast, (down 5.9 per cent) and Bowen Island (down 5.3 per cent). The double-digit benchmark price declines seen in areas such as West Vancouver and Vancouver West have now subdued to two to three per cent annual price drops.

In the attached-home sector, such as townhomes and duplexes, sales across Metro Vancouver rose 55.1 per cent year over year to 318 transactions. This is 12.6 per cent below December 2019’s attached home sales.

Townhomes have seen the biggest benchmark price recovery since last summer, with the typical price of an attached unit now at $782,500. This is a 1.6 per cent increase over the past six months, a 0.5 per cent increase from December 2019 and only 0.7 per cent lower than in January 2019.

Four MLS areas saw higher attached-home benchmark prices than one year previously. Like in the detached sector, Whistler and Squamish saw townhome prices increase the most, up 9.4 and 7.7 per cent respectively. Ladner (down 6.7 per cent) and Tsawwassen (down 6.5 per cent) continued to lead the annual price declines for this sector, with new townhome construction in those areas apparently exceeding local demand.

Some 814 condos traded in Metro Vancouver last month, which was a 45.6 jump year over year, and a 22.7 per cent drop compared with December.

The benchmark price of a condo in the region has risen one per cent over a month to $663,200, which is a 1.5 per cent increase over the past six months, but a drop of one per cent over the year since January 2019.

Looking at condo markets in the different areas, five MLS areas saw values hold their own from one year previously, with prices up 1.8 per cent in Port Moody and 1.2 per cent in Coquitlam. Like townhomes, the biggest annual price declines in the condo sub-markets were seen in Ladner (down 7.1 per cent) and Tsawwassen (down 8.1 per cent).

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Don’t be a stranger! Sooke real estate agent won’t shy away from your questions – Sooke News Mirror



When you’re buying your first house, you’re likely to have a thousand questions. You may even ask the same questions more than once. The same goes for selling — whether it’s your first sale or your fifth, you’ll likely ask the same questions over and over.

Most real estate agents can answer your questions the first time you ask, but it takes a special kind of ‘people person’ to treat you with genuine compassion the fourth time you ask.

“I want my clients to feel comfortable reaching out to me for anything, even if they’ve asked me before,” says Paula Wensley, a real estate agent with Macdonald Realty Ltd. “My goal is to reduce stress for my clients so they don’t lose sleep — they’ll probably lose sleep anyway, but I can do my best to make the process easier.”

Find the right fit

Paula is relatively new to Sooke but she’s no stranger to southern Vancouver Island, having lived in many Island communities over the years. That local knowledge comes in handy when helping clients find their forever-home.

“I’ve had some amazing experiences with clients who weren’t happy with where they lived, but didn’t know where to move,” she says.

They’d describe their personalities, lifestyles and goals, and ask Paula ‘Where can you see us? What community would suit us?’ Using her knowledge of local communities and her talents for connecting with clients, she’d make a recommendation.

“One client reached out a year after they’d moved in just to say thanks. She said ‘we wouldn’t have found this community without you.’ It’s amazing to have that kind of impact.”

3rd generation in real estate

Paula comes from a family of real estate agents including her grandpa, dad, uncles and cousins, so she draws from a wealth of experience beyond her years. Before real estate she worked as a property manager and commercial sales assistant, so she’s seen the industry from all sides.

“I try to offer a fresh approach — I’m up to date on new negotiating techniques and other strategies,” she says.

Paula finds she connects well with clients who prefer a bit more time and attention to their individual needs. If you have a unique situation or just want a little extra help with your listing, Paula will give you her full attention.

“I don’t see myself in sales, I see it as a service. It’s not just a conveyor belt of clients.”

Follow Paula Wensley on Facebook for her latest insights on the tight real estate market, and visit to browse current listings from Mill Bay to Sidney to Sooke. Get in touch by calling 250-388-5882 or at

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Real Estate Transactions: Exclusive Use Servitudes Deemed Invalid – Real Estate and Construction – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts



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While exclusive use clauses remain common in leases, they can no
longer be drafted in the form of servitude agreements in

In April 2020, in the case of Société
immobilière Duguay Inc.
v. 547264 Ontario
1, the Court of Appeal of Quebec
ruled in favour of dismissing a Superior Court
judgment2, thereby granting an application for
declaratory judgment and striking off “exclusive
” clauses drafted in the form of servitude agreements
restricting the types of business that could be carried out on a
property. As a result, this case puts an end, in commercial
transactions, to the use of servitude agreements to protect certain
exclusive businesses or commercial uses from third parties in a
given location.

Exclusive use clauses have long been included in leasing
agreements, such as those in shopping centers, to define the
permitted uses of the leased property and prohibit or limit one
tenant from carrying on the same type of business or
principal use” as another tenant. The bottom
line is to protect the market within a property and ensure the
commercial success of all tenants. The Civil Code of Quebec
(C.C.Q.) does not currently define or regulate such clauses
directly; these are usually the result of negotiations between the
landlord and the tenants. Exclusive use clauses have also been used
in commercial real estate transactions, in the form of servitude
agreements. Under Quebec civil law, Article 1177 C.C.Q. defines a
servitude as “a charge imposed on an immovable, the
servient land, in favour of another immovable, the dominant land,
belonging to a different owner

The Duguay matter is the most recent case in which the
Quebec courts had to determine whether exclusive use agreements in
commercial real estate transactions were valid in civil law. In
this case, the Respondents owned a shopping centre and various
contiguous or nearby lots, which they leased for commercial
purposes. In 1998 and 2000, the Respondents sold two of those lots
to a third party for the purpose of opening a clothing store. The
notarized deed of sale included a servitude agreement stipulating
that the buildings of the shopping centre owned by the Respondents
could not be used to carry on business activities that would
compete with those of the buyer (i.e. a family clothing store),
while the properties acquired by the buyer could not, for their
part, be used for the principal business activities then taking
place at the Respondents’ shopping centre and on the
neighbouring lots they owned (i.e. a grocery store, drugstore,
movie theatre and department store). In 2012, the two properties
were sold by the initial buyer to the Appellant, with the new deed
of sale providing that both properties remain subject to the
exclusive use servitudes set out in 1998 and 2000. Following this
subsequent sale, the Appellant asked the Superior Court to declare
that the “servitude agreement” was not enforceable and to
order its striking out on the grounds that it did not constitute
servitudes, but rather, personal obligations.

The Court of Appeal found that, since the purpose that the
Respondents claimed to be pursuing through these exclusive use
agreements, namely to promote the commercial diversity of their
shopping centre, served largely to ensure that the businesses in
the shopping centre they owned were not subject to commercial
competition, they could not be construed as constituting valid
servitudes under the C.C.Q. The Court of Appeal found that the
rights flowing from these agreements do not relate to the
Respondents’ real estate property, but rather to the
Respondents’ financial and commercial interests.

As a result, although the exclusive use servitude agreements
could be deemed creative in commercial real estate transactions,
the Court of Appeal of Quebec ruled in favour of the Appellant,
finding that such agreements restricting commercial use do not
constitute valid servitudes, as they do not encumber the dominant
land as required by Article 1177 C.C.Q., but only apply to the
servient land. According to the Court of Appeal, these stipulations
must be characterized as personal obligations binding on the first
buyer and the Respondent but not the Appellant as the subsequent
buyer. Moreover, the Court of Appeal found that the Respondents had
not demonstrated that the Appellant agreed to undertake these
agreements as personal obligations when purchasing the


1 Société immobilière Duguay inc. v.
547264 Ontario Limited, 2020 QCCA 571

2 Société immobilière Duguay inc. v.
547264 Ontario Limited, 2018 QCCS 2099 (CanLII)

Originally published by August-September 2020 issue of
Canadian Lawyer InHouse magazine

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Real Estate and Construction from Canada

Construction Dispute Resolution In Ontario

Miller Thomson LLP

The Canadian Construction Documents Committee (“CCDC”) forms of contract provide for a dispute resolution process that is generally contained in Part 8 of the contract.

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LACKIE: There are signs of a softening real-estate market – Toronto Sun



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How could house-poor Canadians, already saddled with alarming levels of consumer debt, manage their way through this, let alone out the other side?

But they did. And it was, quite frankly, astonishing.

According to CMHC, Canadians deferred $1 billion worth of mortgages per month during the pandemic, while the Canadian Bankers Association reports that more than 760,000 Canadians either skipped a mortgage payment or took advantage of a deferral program.

As of Sept. 13, more than $78 billion had been paid out to Canadians in the form of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Yet, by the time the emergency lockdown restrictions started to relax, the real estate market was in full swing.

The June and July sales figures broke records set a year earlier, and the Toronto market spread its heat to the suburban and rural markets. In cottage country, properties were selling with multiple offers just hours after hitting the market.

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Could this really just be the result of pent-up demand? Of fundamental changes in consumer appetites? A hunger for more space, more land, less density?

There were tons of theories.

Maybe all along we haven’t fully appreciated the level of demand, I wondered.

Maybe people weren’t as hurt by lost earnings as one might have expected?

Maybe the busy summer was the combined effect of insatiable demand met with people hustling to get set up to more comfortably ride out the fall’s all but guaranteed second wave.

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